Photo courtesy of Sleepy Number's Facebook Page
He calls himself Sleepy Numbers. And Z. And Zzz33333. And Zach. Whatever you call him though, there’s no denying his talent. His gimmick is rapping straight over instrumentals of alternative rock and hip-hop songs, sometimes leaving the chorus untouched, sometimes rapping right over that too.
Zach overcomes less than perfect recording quality for a sound that is truly like none other. With a voice similar to Why?’s Jonathan "Yoni" Wolf, his overdub raps take the messages from the songs they sample, and further them and drag them in new directions. His flow is comparable to that of Aesop rock, with lyrics more closely related to those of a public service announcement.
Take his cover of Viva La Vida. A solid 4 minute block of straight flowing without stop while the beat builds under him. No chorus, none of Coldplay’s lyrics, just Zach talking about freedom for 4 minutes. And it works.
And then consider his cover of Leona Lewis’ “Bleeding Love” (cleverly reworked as Breathing Love, for a very different sort of motif). Z keeps the chorus, putting his voice over Leona’s, so successfully converting the message from sadness to freedom that without hearing the original song, Leona’s original message is completely lost, and the Sleepy Numbers’ political style takes over the song.
Still a student in college, Zach already has 3 full albums of almost-original work. Everything is available for download from Reverbnation.